February 3, 2009
One of the great ironies of American society is our notion of freedom. We’re free to do just about anything we want as long as it doesn’t seriously impinge on someone else’s freedom. And yet, even though Americans have this tremendous gift, paid for by the blood and toil of preceding generations, we choose largely to ignore it. Instead, we willingly shackle ourselves, in the name of materialism, for 40-plus hours a week. No shame in that game, but it does involve a humbling amount of compromise. For instance, back when you were in college mastering the intricacies of calculus, chemistry, physics, biology, and binge drinking, you never imagined that after graduating, eight hours of your day would be spent at the whim of a pudgy, nerdy college dropout with a black hole of an ego. You were going to work in a really cool office, remember? And your boss was going to be really cool, too. That might actually be the case … especially if you have to wear layered clothing in July because the office thermostat is set on 50 and your boss is an evil bitch. Cool and cooler. Check. In college you were much too cool to compromise your integrity by doing the type of job you’re doing now. You would have rather whored yourself for real, except that whoring, like Forrest Gump’s life, is like a box of chocolates. Work is pretty much the same, except that all the good chocolates have been eaten: Aspen, Colo., has more ski instructors than it can use. Matthew McConaughey already has a personal assistant. The H.O.R.D.E. tour isn’t hiring. Hef doesn’t need pool boys. Like many people, an endless, soul-crushing search for employment finally led you to the conclusion that you are OK with spending eight hours a day in a fluorescent-lit corporate cubicle. You’re no different than most Americans. You do an honest day’s work for an honest dollar. So what if you’re just a tiny cog in a huge machine … or maybe just a spare cog … or maybe the tiny drop of lubricant on the spare cog … it’s hard to say from your perspective. The important thing is that you’re free. You have all that time after the whistle blows to do just what you want, minus the 45-minute commute home, the hour you burn at the gym trying to work off those desk-jockey mud flaps, and the 30 minutes you spend trying to scrape together something to eat that’s not utterly repulsive. No problem, that still leaves you four hours (nearly 17% of your day) to just chill and do the things you really want to do … unless you have kids or dogs or an AA meeting. Don’t worry. You’ll find some down time somewhere … probably right before you fall asleep watching a Seinfeld rerun. At least America is still home of the brave, right? How else could we face this kind of existence? Here’s how: We make fun of it, and no one does that better than Austin’s own Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-Head, King of the Hill, and the cult classic movie Office Space, which is celebrating its 10 year reunion this Sunday at the Paramount. Join Office Space mastermind Mike Judge himself, along with cast members and crew as they relive a story so real, we only wish it were unreal. Get your tickets quick. You’re not the only desk jockey in town, you know.